The healthcare world has created a new problem: highly sensitive imaging techniques like MRI’s can pick up degeneration that is normally occurring in healthy individuals. The very sight of these images can lead a patient down a cascade of negative behaviors associated with an increase in pain, and hence, an iatrogenic phenomenon has occurred. I first read about this phenomenon in Dr. John Sarno’s books, and although perhaps overstated in some instances, the phenomena that he describes absolutely ring true with certain clients that I’ve seen over the years.
This a tremendous short video which illustrates the powerful affect of nocebo, and the iatrogenic affect that MRI’s and poor communication between healthcare professionals and clients can have on back pain.
Also, a review of Sarno’s work, by Ingraham of PainScience: